The Dartford & Gravesham Business Awards has produced a number of locally grown top class companies, some with a global clientele, but many of them small, deservedly picking up trophies and substantial cheques.
At the outset it was the massive regeneration plans for the Thames Gateway that prompted local busineses and organisations to form these awards as a means of recognising the large number of skilled companies, many of whch are involved in the nearby Olympic site at Stratford and also support the new developments. It is interesting to note the first overall winner Whitecode Design Associates Ltd, itself a small company, also won again in 2010, and delivers services to the Olympic site.
It is a sign of the recognition to work together in North Kent that these awards enjoy the support from both Dartford and Gravesham Borough councils. Each council alternates as gala night host and this year it's Gravesham's turn and the event takes place in October at the Woodville Halls, Gravesend.
The local Messenger papers drive the awards, publishing entry forms and details. Each entrant is profiled and will also go on Kent Online. The awards has this dedicated website where entrants can register and download an entry form and view progress updates.
Eventually the awards will be whittled down to 12 finalists in each category chosen from the many entries. The panel of three judges, a banker, accountant and lawyer sift through each entry until they come down to the final choice The judges then spend two days visiting each company and decide which should become the top Dartford, Gravesham and overall winner in each category.
The judges are also able to give additional awards on special merit such as new business, or best entrepreneur. Chair of judges, Lloyds TSB banker Matt Kear has some useful entry tips under this website's news section.
To see the value from a previous winner's perspective, ComputerTel, now also a sponsor, gives some advice on winning these awards under the news section.